OKC Blue announce roster ahead of season opener

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Keyontae Johnson (18) Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Keyontae Johnson (18) Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder is one of the best NBA franchises at developing talent. With a heavy investment in the NBA G League, their mount of draft picks, and Sam Presti’s constant hunt for the next diamond in the rough, there is no disputing where they rank in the association.

While the League has taken additional steps to showcase the NBA G League in recent years, the Thunder have been ahead of the curve. Their current bench boss was raised in the G League as the head man for the OKC Blue.

Now, Kameron Woods has the reigns in year two as a bench boss and feels more confident than ever. Woods represents one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the basketball landscape, and his players rave about his ability to connect with them.

The former Butler star spent his entire pro career playing for the OKC Blue before joining Mark Daigneault’s staff and eventually being elevated to the head coach of the Blue prior to last year.

OKC Thunder announces its NBA G League roster that is littered with talent ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Former Thunder forward D.J. White has taken over as General Manager for the OKC Blue after spending last season as a Video Analyst for the OKC Thunder. Nazr Mohammed had previously served in that role for the past four seasons. Mohammed is still in the organization as the “Director of Team Personnel” for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As the OKC Blue get set to open up their season on Friday night in Texas against the Legends as a back-to-back set that bleeds into the Saturday, the team has announced their initial 2023-24 roster, and it is littered with talent.

The OKC Thunder boasts a trio of interesting two-way players highlighted by Keyontae Johnson, the 50th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The Kansas State product provides a springy floor spacing that possesses some defensive versatility. Lindy Waters III and Olivier Sarr who have gotten some noteworthy NBA burn over the last calendar year and remain on a two-way pact for the OKC Blue.

On the actual Blue roster is a trio of Summer League standouts: Caleb McConnell, Hunter Maldonado, and KJ Williams.

McConnell has the best shot on the entire non-two-way roster to earn an NBA opportunity through this G League season. His blend of blanketing defense and sharpshooting ability provides a dynamic NBA team that are always in the market for.

Adam Flagler is a two-time All-Big-12 player who won a National Title with the Baylor Bears in the 2020-21 season and will catch the eyes of some scouts. When he left college, some placed a low first-round grade on him, while most had him draftable. Things did not work out after leaving school, and the career 40 percent three-point marksman in college is looking to bounce back in the G League.

Jahmi’us Ramsey will be a catalyst for the OKC Blue offense and an excellent weapon for Kameron Woods, who used the bucket-getter in a hybrid role a season ago at times; despite being their best player, Ramsey came off the pine in games. A season ago, the Texas Tech product was limited with a back injury that bounced him in and out of the lineup.

Ramsey can fill it up in the G League, but from scouts I have talked to, there is concern about whether he can translate it to the NBA. He was a battering ram at the rim, scoring at a 63 percent clip at the cup, but shot just 32 percent from beyond the arc a season ago.

While he can score at will in the painted area in the G League, scouts have expressed concerns about a 6’3 scoring guard who does his damage in the trees with limited playmaking and shooting working out at the varsity level.

Still, Jahmi’us Ramsey is only 22 years old! Once a highly thought of prospect, if he can take a leap from beyond the arc this season, he will earn an NBA chance. In large part thanks to the additional two-way spot.

The rest of the Blue roster does not have much NBA juice, but the Thunder will, of course, shuffle down NBA players to play alongside the Blue, especially during home games. Do not be surprised to see Aleksej Pokusevski or Tre Mann get an early run with the Blue.

Ousmane Dieng is another option to get some burn in the G League, but from a different standpoint. While he is playing well in his role in the NBA during this early season stretch, the G League allows Dieng more freedom of development with the ball in his hands and as a focus in the offensive actions.

Hunter Maldonado and KJ Williams are the other two names to keep tabs on in terms of elevation status; as a reminder, these G League players can be plucked by other NBA squads, so when discussing their NBA staying power, it is not directly with the Thunder unless currently signed on a two-way pact or sent down from the parent club.

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